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Fiction Sad

I will be back, I said. I know you will, she said back. I winced as she smiled her beautiful smile and I smiled back, but my smile was not beautiful like hers.

After a hug and a playful push of the wheelchair, I left her; and I told myself that she would be fine. I dreamt up scenarios of her being fed, bathed, told stories and put to bed with care. I convinced myself that she would be loved and that she would know that I would never forget her. She would have a wonderful journey with others like her.

With the same journey.

And then I checked the address for my own wonderful journey. The image of a picture-perfect campus was etched in my mind and I held onto it like one would hold onto a rope whilst hanging off a cliff.

After all, the things that I left for my other half was walls, a bed and people around to make sure that she was able to speak, breathe and not wet her own bed. She hated wetting her bed with a passion and I hoped that they would comfort her whenever she did - because it was unavoidable a lot of the time.

After leaving her, the campus was all I had now. The only thing to hold onto, besides the fond memories of her.

Even though I loved her, I had to acknowledge the fact that there was also nothing to keep me from succeeding. And if I failed, then I would have left her alone for nothing. And so failing was not an option.

Because I had abandoned a prime hindrance.

There was no more checking ventilators, or vitals or blood pressure. There was no more carrying her up and down the stairs, because I couldn't afford anything other than a small apartment. There wouldn't be any more need to digress through tantrums and rainy days. I wouldn't need to glare at people when they stared in the supermarket and then calm her down when she noticed.

I didn't have to spend all of my days reading and scrolling through Tinder even though I never accepted requests when nice guys asked me on dates; I didn't have to constantly decline going out with my friends because everyone that we loved was dead and there was no chance of finding someone to care for her when I wasn't; I never had to bring an entire backpack everywhere we went so that I was prepared in case of an accident again.

And it was freeing just as it was heart crushing.

***

I felt horrible at first. I felt like I had lost something so essential in my life that I would never be able to live without it - without her - and still serve a legitimate purpose. I thought that I'd never find something so exhausting and yet so fulfilling to do ever again.

I worried that the other people in my life would judge me for it, too, perhaps even shun me. God knows, it was what I deserved. And really, I wanted people to treat me that way; so that I would never have peace and be punished for what I had done.

For leaving her and believing that she would be fine.

However, I was not shunned by the other people whom I loved. Instead, they saw my pain and my reluctance. They told me that I was doing the right thing to take care of myself; and that I should not feel guilty. A friend from my days of volunteering even helped me fill in my application form and that small action eased my mind and convinced me that I was doing the right thing.

My friend even went as far as telling me that the institution was a good thing and that my other half would be happy that I thought of myself after all the years of tending to her needs. And I believed her. Surely, it was my time to live, grow and become something other than an attachment. I had to get an opportunity to be fully happy and free.

It was something that I really looked forward to. People wouldn't see me as the 'strong nanny' anymore. Perhaps then they'd see me as something else; something that didn't involve another person.

And I got it.

After a few years of studying engineering, I was finally becoming something more. I became a singular being who made her own choices and suffered her own consequences. I mustered the courage to find someone else that was really special to me, and his name was Eric. I made new friends who saw me as something more than what I had previously perceived myself to be. My image of the perfect life was just within my reach when Eric sought for marriage, and I believed that everything was going to be perfect, like I was hoping it would be.

Everything that I had sacrificed for this life that made me happy was worth it. It was worth her. It had to be; and I never stopped trying to improve that life and myself to make sure that I didn’t abandon my other half for something that she would not be proud of.

And I never forgot about her. I called every week with no exceptions, I made sure that she still got fed, bathed and told stories. I paid for everything that she would possibly need before I made any unnecessary splurges for myself and the institution updated me every few months and told me that she was okay.

But, they lied. And I was naive to think that they were on the same self-improving journey as I was.

Because she didn't want me to become my own person or live my own best life. After a few years, I was informed that when I had previously left her, she kicked and screamed. She did it everyday. When I asked why I wasn't informed, they didn't answer.

And when I told them that I would be paying a visit, they told me not to bother. And after the natural question of why, I learned that she was now nothing more than a sack of bones drained of her blood.

Because all of it coloured the warm bath water that she had killed herself in.

And just like that, my own life and success meant nothing.

November 05, 2020 14:03

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